How is your company’s communication?
Is it tight and efficient and aimed at driving results or increasing connection?
Or do team members talk a lot without saying anything meaningful?
Of the hundreds of companies I’ve worked with over the past 30 years, I repeatedly see only five types of communication…
- Info Sharing
- Sharing Oneself
- Debating, Decision Making, Point Proving
… and only two of them drive results.
What communication types are most prevalent in your culture?
Look at the chart above. Are your meetings dominated by lots of Info Sharing, lots of Sharing of Oneself, some Debating, Decision Making and Point Proving and regrettably few Requests and Promises?
You’re not alone.
We have meetings because we want to reach a conclusion of some sort. To make meetings matter you’ll want to:
1. Set the meeting’s intention in advance: what exactly do you want to accomplish?
If it’s simply to share info that is not highly sensitive (e.g. you’re fired), then send an email instead. If it’s to get everyone aligned and to allocate work, then set a tight agenda and wrap the meeting within 45 minutes (or take a break then, as people are maxing out in their attention span). The key is allow only enough Info Sharing to solicit Requests from parties who need something and Promises from those who will deliver. If it’s a company meeting/update session for the team, keep it short with segments for summary result info, current obstacles and plans to overcome them, future goals, a short education session and celebration of people/recent accomplishments.
Is the meeting’s purpose to share your thoughts/feelings? Have a one-on-one huddle for 10-15 minutes instead.
Is it to debate or point prove? How necessary is that?
2. Invite the doers, decision makers, impacted parties only.
Often meetings are too crowded because too many unnecessary people are invited. The point of the meeting is to get stuff done as a group. Get the people in the room who will facilitate that or be affected by it.
3. Have a clear meeting leader and tight time-lined agenda.
The meeting leader’s task is to keep everyone on track and drive to results. Once each key point of the meeting is mapped out, keep the focus on achieving your intention. Other topics and side conversations will be handled off line later with the appropriate parties present. Also the goal isn’t to solve detailed problems in the meeting, it’s to assign responsibilities based on Requests and Promises made. The responsible individuals will follow through post-meeting.
4. Send a recap email of all responsibilities post-meeting.
The meeting leader will summarize the Requests, Promises and details of each. Remember a vague Request (can you get me info on our top advertisers?) versus a clear Request (can you get me a report of our top 50 advertisers in the USA with spending history for the current + past 5 years in a spreadsheet by 4pm this Friday?) will help the Promise maker to succeed. The meeting leader’s job is to ensure all participants are set up to succeed in executing their Promises.
The result of the above is meetings that are efficient, effective, and keep your team happy and executing with high accountability. Further, it’ll reduce B.S., frustration, and disengaged team members.
Do what our clients do: enlarge the graphic above, post it on your conference room wall and train your team to communicate to drive results.
How is communication within your company? Every CEO needs a sounding board. I’ll select 3 readers for a communication strategy call. Click here to throw your hat in the ring.